Once in a life time…
Zalgiris Kaunas might not make it to the Top 16 but they got their name in the Euroleague records book, by tying the “Most Points in a Quarter” record that stands on 41. The score of the 4th quarter was 41-36, that’s a total of 77 points in 10 minutes, but the last 60 seconds made the big difference.
The Lithuanians needed a 15 point win to lead the three way tie-breaker with Prokom and Nancy but held just an 84-79 difference entering the last minute. In that period Zalgiris scored 21 points and Nancy “only” 15, a crazy total of 36 points in one minute. That’s more than a point every 2 seconds. A total of 77 actions took place in the last minute and let’s try to break it down.
Zalgiris scored 3 three balls, Nancy once, the locals added 2 lay ups and the rest came from the bonus line. A total of 14 fouls were committed, 20 points were scored from the line, 12 by Nancy, 8 free throws were missed, 4 of them by the Lithuanians who needed to win by 15 but settled for…11.
Not the first time in Zalgiris history the free throws make a difference.
Go Greer Go!
Congratulations to Ricardo Greer! After 8 Euroleague in this season he finally managed to finish a game with less than 3 turnovers. He will still finish with the worst turnover per game figures, as he stands on 4.8 and behind him are three players with 3.0, but his main goal next week, against Montepaschi and Sato, would be to commit just a single turnover and finish the season with a 4.4 tpg record. The ULEB’s Euroleague record for most tpg average is 4.5 by Sergey Bazarevic in the debut season. Another terrible performance and 7 turnovers and up will turn him to a 5 tpg player.
Hopefully one kid out there across the Continent ask Santa for a Tau Vitoria-Lottomatica Roma quarter-finals series. After the Italians shocked with a 90-93 victory in Basque land, we saw on Thursday one of the best games of the season when Tau revenged 96-103 in overtime. Four players in Tau played more than 36 minutes, as the teams fought for the first place in Group C. It was a high level basketball game the Euroleague showed display in any chance to example how good it gets. Both teams performed a high scoring game, and their percentages were 50.9% and 55.2% inside the arc, 34.7% and 37% outside it behind 75% and 83.7% from the charity stripe. They combined no more than a total of 24 turnovers. Quick and athletic team game on both ends. Thrilling finish. If they meet once again for a best-of-five series to decide who’s going to Berlin, get ready for a classic that will go down in history pages.
Before Pete Mickeal signed with Tau he was in Korea. Before in small clubs as Makedonikos, Peristeri and Breogan. In between he spent a short while in Dynamo Moscow that had enough off him after 5 games. They are probably sorry for that now. When you think of Tau you think Prigioni, Rakocevic and Splitter but the American forward is a big winner that makes a difference. An added value that helps the above trio make it happen.
When Tau won the ACB title last year it was Mickeal who won the MVP of the finals, for a very good reason. In game 3 of the Euroleague quarter-finals last year vs. Partizan he stepped up with 19 points and 6 rebounds to be the top scorer on the shinning roster. If you needed another example, in the micro case, came Thursday night.
In 34 Euroleague games before the match in Roma the total three points made by Mickeal was no more than 10. In that game against Partizan, by the way, came two them. Another in the Semi-finals against CSKA. When he makes three pointers it’s usually important. This week was no different.
The situation entering the last minute was that Splitter fouled out and Sani went to shoot 2 with the score tied at 82-82. At that point Mickeal had 2 points, both from the line, missed all of his 5 shots from the field and drew 1 foul. His index rating was 0.
Sani, once again, missed a free throw in a crucial moment (He was 7/8 at that time), and from that point on it was “The Pete Show!”
Mickeal, who was 0/3 from long distance in the game, showed once again what a huge winner he is. He nailed a big bomb from long range to put Tau on top, but that wasn’t all. In the remaining seconds of regulation and overtime the forward pulled down no less than 6 rebounds, and in addition to that three pointer had 8 more points, including 6/6 from the line.
The total was 11 points, 1/1 2FG, 1/1 3FG, 6/6 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 fouls drawn, not a single mistake and an index rating of 21.
So Pete Mickeal wrote 21 index points in a little over 5 minutes to win a key game for Tau. Can’t get more impressive than that, but the second half of Maccabi’s D’or Fischer deserves some attention as well.
In the first half against Olympiacos he played 13 minutes, didn’t take a single shot, and finished with 2 rebounds and 2 blocks. His team held just a two point lead at the half, and if one wonders what made the difference in the second half that Maccabi won by 13, well, it was mostly Fischer.
15 points, 8 rebounds and an index rating of 26 in 28 second half minutes marched the big guy to another big night, on his way to the first place in the MVP ranking of the regular season.
Even Maccabi didn’t help
Lynn Greer used to like to play against Maccabi. Last season in the Top 16 he won twice the MVP of the week award and in both cases it was in a game against Maccabi. 26 points, 5 assists and an index of 31 in Piraeus were followed with 27 points, 6 assists and an index of 37 in Tel Aviv.
When the teams met this season again in the first leg of the season Greer showed nothing has changed, and with 21 points and an index of 20 led the Greeks to the win. After two bad weeks and a long break to give him the time to recover, Maccabi seemed like the perfect opponent for Greer to show his old face again.
All was ready for the US scorer to complete a quartet, but on last Thursday he wrote his worst index rating in his Euroleague career (-3) and continued his terrible shape. In the last three games Greer stands on totals of 16 points, 2/6 two-point, 2/9 three-point, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 5 turnovers, 5 drawn fouls and a ranking of 5.
Next week he will face Le Mans at home. Almost any point guard who played against Le Mans had a high index rating, including Greer who wrote some season highs in France. Let’s wait and see…
And here’s just why
Greer’s low performance @Maccabi is just the last in an interesting chain of American scorers performances. Take a look at this.
Maccabi played so far five home games. Excluding the first game against Avellino, there’s a series of four games where the US scorer on the opponent’s squad made the difference. Either way.
Le Mans saw Dewarick Spencer write one of his worse games in the Euroleague. He scored only 3 points in 1/5 from the field and a close to a career low performance of a -3 index rating. Next was Cibona’s Rawle Marshall. He too had a terrible display in Tel Aviv with season low of 2 points, 1/7 from the field and index rating of -3. Greer was the third in a row to write that -3. All of their teams lost.
The one who escaped from Tel Aviv with a win was Unicaja Malage. Their US scorer, Thomas Kelati, was anything but cold in Israel. In fact he wrote his season high in points and index rating – both 23.
Some thinking material for the future Top 16 opponents of Maccabi.
7 less helped to differ
Montepaschi lost in Athens 81-76. They revenged with an 82-77 triumph. Close scores. Small differences. One delicate one you can find in the three point shots of the Italians. In Athens they went 12/33, while this week they took two shots less and hit one more to reach 13/31.
It showed in the micro look in two players – Shaun Stonerook and Terrell McIntyre combined an awful 3/19 in Athens, and calmed down a bit in their home court to finish just with 3/12. Those 7 missed three pointers coach Pianigiani “saved” were translated more efficiently, and helped to make a difference.
Probably some papers in Athens were asking in their title “Carraretto who?!” as Montepaschi’s veteran shooter, Marco Carraretto, killed the Greek empire when he went 5/5 from distance. Four of those shots were in the second half and the last two in the last minutes when Montepaschi made their blitz.
Carraretto is a 31 year old shooter, who spent most of his career far from the Euroleague in teams like Mestre, Udine, Verona, Biella and Breogn. A very shot stay of 4 games in Vitoria was the exception. Last season he made his debut in the Euroleague with Montepaschi and finished the season with a total of 7 three pointers. This season he added 4 more. In one night, a very crucial night for his team, he kicked up the numbers from 11 to 16, and played a big part in the last decisive run.
With a little over 3 minutes to play Pao held a 70-75 lead, but saw the locals run 12-2 till the buzzer in a huge finish. The one who scored the only points of the Greeks in that period was obviously Jasikevicius, but the big show was ran by Carraretto.
His first three pointer made it 76-75 and gave his team the first lead in the last quarter. The second three pointer set the final score, and gave Montepaschi the so welcomed 5 point win.
But the real reason was…
It happened more than once than teams of Obradovic lost key games during the season, as the one in Siena, but you don’t expect them to be unfocused.
On Thursday night Panathinaikos wrote a season high by committing no less than 27 turnovers. Their season high coming to the team was 19, in the first leg game against MPS. Their season average stood on 14, almost half than that. In the two big defeats to Barcelona the combined number of turnovers by Pao was…26. This is how bizarre it was to see the Greens turn the ball over so often.
Diamantidis finished with five turnovers, but the one to write a career high was the beast named Batiste. He had a big game with 28 points in 10/13 from the field, 8/9 from the line and 8 rebounds, but he also turned the ball over 8 times. More than in any of the other 120 Euroleague games he played so far.
His previous record was 7 and took place in his debut season with Pao, back in 2003/04 in Moscow against CSKA.